Recruitment Strategy Development - Recruitment Process Improvement – Requisition Approval Process

As the Toyota Production System and Lean process improvement have repeatedly demonstrated, there is waste in many processes. In order to be more efficient and more productive, it is important to identify and remove the waste. The people who generally are best to identify the waste are the people involved in making the process work. When you see or hear frustration in their voices, you know the process is not working smoothly.

While developing a recruitment strategy, it is good to identify different areas within your recruitment processes that you may be able to improve. Set a goal to improve your recruitment processes every year. Create metrics to demonstrate your success or failure to accomplish your goal. We will look at these processes in this white paper. As a point of reference, this white paper will be published in sections in order to be more focused. Each blog entry in this series will begin with the recruitment process improvement title.

When discussing recruitment process improvement, many people describe the recruitment process as a single process. However, when you examine it, you can see that the recruitment process consists of a number of processes. If even one of those processes is flawed, it could prevent you from recruiting and attracting an Impact Performer.

When a company needs to open a new or replacement position (requisition), the first recruitment process (requisition approval process) begins. The approval process in a small company can be very simple. The manager asks the CEO if they can hire a new person and the CEO says, “Sure.” Generally in larger companies, this process is more detailed where forms are completed and different levels of management need to approve the new or replacement requisitions.

On one of my recruitment consulting contracts in the 1990’s, it took almost 6 weeks to open an employment requisition. There were eleven levels of approval required. The CEO recognized that it was now taking far too long to approve a position. When I began investigating the process, my first impression was that it was a paper process that was dependent upon people sitting at their desks. If the requisition was delivered to the desk of someone who was out of town, it could languish there for a week or more. Worse yet, no one knew where it was.

As a result of my interviews with the managers involved in the approval process, I discovered that many did not know why they were involved – nor did they want to be. We whittled down the levels from eleven approvals to four – the Direct Manager, the Director, the Vice President, and the CEO. It was still a paper process but at least it was now manageable and finding which desk it may be stuck was easier. Then we further refined the process where the requisition would be forwarded on email.

The hiring manager was responsible for creating a meaningful job description, justifying the need, and checking the budget to ensure it was approved. The higher level managers checked the information supplied and ensured the position was in line with the current corporate strategy. If the position was outside of the budget, the hiring manager needed to justify the new position. If everything was as expected, the requisition was approved.

This example is a great example of why RecruiterGuy suggests that you improve a process prior to automating it. If this process was just automated, there would still be eleven levels of approval. In essence, you would potentially just speed up a flawed process.

Today, if you have a small to medium sized company, an applicant tracking system is recommended by RecruiterGuy for many reasons. First of all, you may automate the approval process and easily track the progress of an approval, sourcing, candidates, recruiter notes, and the interviewing and on boarding processes. Secondly, with the more aggressive enforcement of Federal OFCCP regulations, applicant tracking systems will create the required reports (if you enter the information). Thirdly, you may search and retrieve candidates who are in your own database. Larger companies require the more robust HRIS systems just to cope with the amount of information flowing into and out of them.

How do you decide which applicant tracking system is best for your company? Sylvia Dahlby of Advanced Personal Systems, Inc (smartsearch) recommends that you develop an RFP. How many employees do you currently have? How many employees do you expect to hire in the next year or so? How many resumes do you expect to import into your applicant tracking system in the next year and beyond? How many people will be accessing your system regularly (licenses)? What reports will you need? How do you plan to introduce resumes to your applicant tracking system? Do you want to be able to post approved jobs immediately to your website and to selected job boards? Would you like the Internet aggregators such as to easily find your jobs (Of Course!)? Is it important to integrate your applicant tracking system to Outlook? How quickly do you want your system up and running? How much money can you afford to pay for the initial purchase and then annual license fees? Any of the companies who sell applicant tracking systems will help you with your options.

Who are the applicant tracking system companies?

My vendor is Advanced Personnel Systems, Inc (smartsearch) They have been in business for over 20 years and continuously improve their product and integrate smartsearch with other recruitment process related vendors. Once your company signs the contract with them, they will have you up and operating within a couple of weeks, including importing resumes from Outlook or wherever you are currently storing them. Their customer service is impeccable and prompt. Once, I had insomnia and was doing some work in the middle of the night. I got hung up on a small detail and sent a note to support. The CTO replied in 15 minutes that he had solved the problem! I replied that rarely was my middle of the night problem that important but that’s the kind of company they are.

You may also look at Taleo, icims, and enterprise systems such as Oracle’s PeopleSoft HRIS

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Comment by Saleem Qureshi on February 20, 2010 at 2:03pm
@Bill..Thanks for sharing this great information on trend taking shape in recruitment industry. There is no doubt that ATS improves your work system in sorting out the piles of resumes, but don't you think that besides sorting out the resumes, talent assessment test is very critical, that must be used early in the hiring process, so only the most qualified candidates continue on to the expensive stages of interviewing.
Comment by Paul Alfred on February 20, 2010 at 4:21pm
@Saleem, Talent Assessments tests are critical I have worked with Taleo which focuses primarily on the Talent Acquisition process -this application gets even more buggy the more modules you decide to integrate ... I have to say having worked as a Consultant I have seen the process run very smoothly (Fortune 500 Player) 3 weeks from Requisition approval to hire - Talent assessments in this case were completed through manual behavior assessments done at the interview process ... Perhaps a Blog on Talent Assessments applications are in order...
Comment by Bill Humbert on February 20, 2010 at 6:21pm
Hey Guys,

You're both on target here. You know, there are more Recruitment Process Improvement blogs coming. If I tried to cover that book in this one time, you wouldn't have finished reading it!

So more are coming. I did a webinar a month ago "The Best Qualified Candidate Rarely Gets the Job". We covered Talent Assessments in that Webinar.

Look for my next entry next week! Thanks for Great Comments! Bill


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